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Mark 14:27

ESV And Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away, for it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’
NIV You will all fall away,' Jesus told them, 'for it is written: ''I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.'
NASB And Jesus *said to them, 'You will all fall away, because it is written: ‘I WILL STRIKE THE SHEPHERD, AND THE SHEEP WILL BE SCATTERED.’
CSB Then Jesus said to them, "All of you will fall away, because it is written:I will strike the shepherd,and the sheep will be scattered.
NLT On the way, Jesus told them, 'All of you will desert me. For the Scriptures say, ‘God will strike the Shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’
KJV And Jesus saith unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered.

What does Mark 14:27 mean?

The phrase "fall away" is taken from the Greek root word skandalizo. The word describes the disciples as being led to distrust and even be offended by Jesus. They will morally stumble and ultimately sin. This is the same term used to describe the rocky ground in the parable of the sower: "And these are the ones sown on rocky ground: the ones who, when they hear the word immediately receive it with joy. And they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away" (Mark 4:16–17). The disciples have heard Jesus' words and agree with them, but their roots are still too shallow.

The metaphor of the shepherd and sheep is an old one in the Bible, perhaps most famously illustrated in Psalm 23. King David, who had been a shepherd (1 Samuel 17:34), describes himself as a sheep who follows God the shepherd through "the valley of the shadow of death" with no fear or doubt. Conversely, the disciples will see Jesus taken, appearing to their eyes as powerless to stop His torture and cruel death. In fear, they will scatter like sheep when faced with a lion that attacks their shepherd.

The word "scatter" is from the Greek root word diaskorpizo, which means to disperse, but also means to winnow, as grain. In Luke 22:31, Jesus warns Peter that Satan has demanded to sift Peter like wheat. Undoubtedly, Satan means to toss Peter about so that he is separated from Jesus and the other disciples as the chaff, or light husk, is separated from the wheat kernel. Satan succeeds, but only for a time. Peter will deny Jesus (Mark 14:66–72), but after Jesus' resurrection, he will be restored (John 21:15–19).

There is a distinct difference here between the remaining eleven disciples and Judas. The eleven will scatter like sheep, but they will return. Judas is gone for good. If Judas had returned to Jesus and asked for forgiveness, he would have found it. But God chose Judas to betray Jesus knowing Judas would never surrender his own desires. In John 10:1–18, Jesus tells the parable of the good shepherd. He says, "I know my own and my own know me…" (John 10:14). He explains that the sheep know the good shepherd's voice and follow Him. They may scatter for a time, but those who belong to Jesus will always return to Him.

Right now, the disciples are on a high. They have watched Jesus assert authority in the temple (Mark 11:15–19), humiliate the religious leaders with His wisdom (Mark 11:27—12:40), and even find them an empty room in a city with over a hundred thousand visitors (Mark 14:12–16). They still think Jesus is about to reveal His identity as Messiah and rescue the Jews from Roman rule. Abandoning Him in His moment of triumph is the last thought on their minds.
What is the Gospel?
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